RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

AUG 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE August 2018 31 Against a backdrop of sandy beaches and tropical clime, Blefari summa- rized his immense respect for net- work members and his vision around Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' value proposition. "Forever—as I define it—means enduring through all times, and just as the waves have endlessly crashed against the shores of Kona, Berk- shire Hathaway HomeServices will forever serve the lives, lifestyles and needs of our clients," he said. For Blefari, the concept of "forev- er" might be simply explained by a maritime metaphor, but its applica- tion to the brokerage network and re- spective franchisees is complex and all-encompassing. When asked why he and Chris Stu- art, chief operating officer at Berk- shire Hathaway HomeServices, have dedicated such significant time to es- tablishing Berkshire Hathaway Home- Services as the "forever real estate brand," Blefari explains: "All of us with years of real estate experience have witnessed how for decades in- dividual real estate agents advertise their desire to be accepted by con- sumers as their 'real estate agent for life.' Regrettably, this offering seldom materializes, becoming nothing more than an overused phrase." Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has said the brand will be around a cen- tury from now. "Berkshire Hathaway wants to be in businesses that are enduring," he explained. "Real es- tate brokerages will be around 100 years from now and [Berkshire Ha- thaway] HomeServices will be around 100 years from now. It will always be a very important business." According to Blefari, the more con- sumers recognize and respect a real estate brand—and the brokerages that bear its name—as representing their needs forever, the more signifi- cant meaning will be placed on the concept of a "real estate agent for life." "Brokers and brands in general, while succeeding in creating transac- tional value, have fallen short in their attempts to establish lifelong value with consumers," he says. "To create lasting, forever value within a brand or brokerage means doing a whole lot more." Specifically, Blefari believes brands and brokerages must persuade con- sumers that the company culture represents an extension of this for- ever concept, focused on nurturing the fundamental role of an agent as a trusted advisor who extends value, skills and advice not only before or after a transaction, but also through- out a client's entire life. "As seasons change, as families grow and as children leave the nest, lifestyle needs evolve," says Blefari. "A forever real estate agent under- stands that the concept of home is predicated on the many changes life can bring and it doesn't start— or end—with the transaction. That's what we want consumers to associ- ate with every single sales profes- sional who carries our Berkshire Ha- thaway HomeServices name." It's a weighty task to imbue the for- ever title on a fast-growing network of nearly 46,000 agents working in al- most 1,400 offices nationwide (with an expanding global presence), but if anyone is up to the challenge, it's Blefari and his team. "Change begins with solid leader- ship," he says. "And we happen to have the best leaders in the busi- ness guiding our forever brand." A Leader Leads Forever To truly execute a forever vision re- quires immense insight, inspiration and innovation from all those re- sponsible for turning "forever" into "for real." At the top of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' command sits Blefari, who understands that great leadership means holding team members accountable for the particular facet of "forever" they have committed to accomplishing. "A forever-focused team functions much like a team of Olympic rowers," explains Blefari. "To move steadily forward and win the race, each mem- ber must be acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those "A forever real estate agent understands that the concept of home is predicated on the many changes life can bring and it doesn't start—or end—with the transaction. That's what we want consumers to associate with every single sales professional who carries our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices name." – GINO BLEFARI, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices B erkshire Hathaway HomeServices President and CEO Gino Blefari recently hosted the brand's Top 50 brokerage leaders and their guests at the company's annual Berkshire Elite Circle conference, an exclusive leadership retreat held in June in Kona, Hawaii.

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